Anyone who’s had a project go awry knows that misunderstandings between co-work- ers can cost a company as much time, money, and energy as unnecessary meetings or poorly run processes. But getting aligned with
people gets even harder as digital communication
tools increasingly become the most common way to
interact at work.
Considering how much of every day we spend typing—whether it’s blog posts, tweets, messages to big
public channels, or in private conversations—it’s more
important than ever that we’re able to communicate
clearly in writing.
But getting the words right every time? That’s hard.
Making sure that people understand your intention
and your tone? Also hard! To prevent this productivity
quicksand from dragging you and your team down,
here are some tips for bringing greater clarity and context to your digital communications at work.
1. Meet people where they are. Before firing off
your thoughts, take a moment to consider your
reader. If you’re writing to someone who is typically pressed for time, keep your statements short
and snappy. If you’re talking to someone who has
less experience, you might want to approach the
conversation as a mentor and provide a little more
context or offer some words of encouragement.
Knowing your reader and tailoring your message
ensures your point isn’t just heard, but
2. Be your own editor. If you’re writing a slightly
longer missive, like a brief, a report, or a note
that requires more explanation, don’t just write
everything that comes into your head expecting
your reader to dig out your point. Read
what you’ve typed a few times over (and
wonder out loud if you can’t get your message
down by 40%, or better yet, 70%) before
to avoid misunderstandings,
communicate better, and get
more done at work